The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) launched a new anti-litter campaign targeted at lost cargo and debris. Large litter, such as ladders and mattresses, are responsible for more than 25,000 accidents on North American roads each year. Learn more at www.litterhurts.utah.gov
I had done a previous post on the High Cost of Litter- and Taxpayers Many people emailed me and asked where I got the information. Listed below is more information and the sources.
- Dispatch Calls to Highway Patrol to pick up litter- 6,357 in Salt Lake County Alone
- Reported Accidents caused by debris on Highway- About 1,000
- Time taken to re-litter- 6 weeks
- Trash Bags Used- 2006- 99,600 trash bags
- Trucker Bombs– bottles filled with urine and feces- 2005- Last year, UDOT estimates it removed upwards of 30,000 of these “trucker bombs” from the side of state highways.
- Nearly 80% of Utahans surveyed have been confronted with debris on the road
- 45% of Utahans surveyed have experienced damage to their cars due to litter on the road.
Litter on Utah State Highways May 2007
Prison work crews, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers and UDOT employees are constantly
removing debris and litter left on our roads by motorists. We spend more than
$1,000,000 annually to pick up and dispose of highway litter. Additionally, in urban
areas, we spend $800,000 per year sweeping debris left on the road. Every year litter
pick-up costs and disposal fees increase due to additional roadside litter.
60% goes for UCI Prison crews – they cost about $500 per day (Guards, truck, porta-
potty, trailer, and inmate wages). 25% goes to pickup and dispose of the orange bags
that Prison Work Crews and Adopt-a-Highway groups gather up. The remainder goes for
UDOT crews picking up litter and roadside debris.
UDOT trucks travel about 150,000 miles hauling orange trash bags to the dump. About
8,000 truck loads (One-ton size) of litter hauled to landfills around the state annually.
UDOT pays dumping fees for most of the debris hauled off the road. We use orange
trash bags because they are so visible and tend to remind motorists of how much debris
there is on the roadside. In 2006 UDOT used 99,600 trash bags. Each bag holds 12.2
cubic feet of litter. Our “haul” in FY2006 was 45,000 cubic yards of litter. That’s enough
litter to cover a football field 45 feet deep.
The biggest problems are on freeways and multilane arterials – especially in urban areas.
Roads to recreation venues are also particularly hit hard at times. The volume of trash
seems to decrease with the distance from convenience stores, fast food outlets and
major big-box retailers.
Truck driver generated debris is another separate problem localized to interstate ramps.
It is not what we pickup for that $1.8 million – it’s what we don’t get picked up that is
With our current practices and enforcement, roadsides get re-littered in as little as six
weeks. Some, like SR-201 west towards the Salt Lake County landfill fill up even faster.
- Fines- up to $250 for littering and up to $500 for lost debris